You don’t need to have your fine cashmere sweaters and other items dry-cleaned. Don’t ruin your luxe cashmere items just because you don’t know how to wash cashmere. Dry cleaning chemicals can destroy natural fibers like cashmere. If you know how to wash cashmere, you can wash it yourself at home. You can hand wash or machine wash cashmere as long as you are careful and follow these tips:

Always use a safe natural detergent: Cashmere is wool that is made from the very fine underbelly fur of a certain species of goat. Like any hair, this fine wool needs to be washed in a delicate detergent that is free from any dyes, fragrances, or chemicals. Use a sulfate free detergent to make sure that you don’t damage the delicate cashmere fabric when you are washing it. It doesn’t matter if you are hand washing your cashmere or machine washing it you should still use a natural and gentle detergent.

Protect your cashmere: if you are going to wash your cashmere items in the washing machine, put all of your cashmere items in a net lingerie bag or a zipped pillow protector. That will prevent the cashmere from getting caught on the agitator, tangled with other items, or spun out of shape in the spin cycle. Never use hot water when you are washing cashmere. It’s best to wash it in cold water, but you can use warm as well. Even if you are hand washing your cashmere, you should wash it in cold water.

Use the delicate cycle: When you put delicate items like cashmere, or silk, or chiffon in the washing machine you need to use the delicate cycle on the washer. Don’t wash anything else with your delicate items. Make sure that the machine is set on delicate so that your luxury items won’t get ripped apart by the violent agitation of the machine.

Never put cashmere in the dryer: If you use the dryer to dry cashmere, it will shrink and ruin your clothing. Even the low setting is too warm for a fabric like cashmere. Cashmere is wool, and wool can shrink by as much as 50% when it’s dried in the dryer. To dry your cashmere, lay it gently on a towel and press the water out of it. Then use a drying rack or hang it on a padded hanger and let it dry outside or in a sunny area of your home. Put a towel on the floor underneath to catch any water that drips off it.